Friday, October 14, 2016

रूपकुंड (Roopkund Lake) -- Day-2

This day was probably destined to be eventful for me.  We 3 were supposed to reach Railway station by 7 AM (max) to join rest of the team to start Kathgodam to Lohajung journey.  This ~275 KM journey takes about 10 hrs so the plan is always to start early...

We got up at 6 AM and stated preparing.  By 6:30 AM rest of the team had reached the Railway station and they started calling us to hurry up.  Every 5 - 7 min either the driver or somebody from the team would check on us.

We somehow managed to be ready to leave the KMVN Guest House by 7:30 AM and I noticed that my wallet is missing.  We searched everywhere in the room.  All my luggage as well a multiple times.  The room attendants also helped us but no success.  I had a lot of cash + all my cards + IDs in it.  I was not able to recall where did I keep it last.  After 15 min of search by 5 members and a few calls from the rest of the team asking us to hurry up, it was decided that I lost it and we better report this to the police.  If they get it, they may call me.  I was not at all sure if this will help.  I was like "shxx" not a good start at all :-(.

We ran to the railway station parking and joined rest of the team.  I dropped the idea of reporting to police.  I now started thinking of calling banks for various cards to be blocked and all related trouble.

Running towards Kathgodam Rly Station (Photographer: Chirag)

Kathgodam Rly Station (Photographer: Chirag)

We introduced ourselves to 7 others who were waiting for us and finally started the journey.  Took a 15 min break for b'fast and started towards Kausani.

Checking Kathgodam City from height (Photographer: Chirag)

One of the bridge on the way (Photographer: Chirag)

By noon, we had crossed Kausani and it was time to halt for lunch.  On way to Baijnath there is a tea factory.  There are 2 hotels here and a few shops.  There is also a shawl factory.

We had lunch here and surprise !  I got my wallet back :-).  My room-mate had pocketed it in the morning at the KMVN Guest House, of-course by mistake, assuming it is his.  Post lunch, he pulled it out to pay money and I saw a familiar item in his hand.  Now it was his turn to search for his wallet :-).  Luckily he found his wallet in his luggage.  What a relief !!!

Rest of the journey was through forests and never ending ghats, climbing one mountain, getting down the other side and climbing the next one.  The journey was: Kathgodam -- Bhimtal -- Sukha -- Dhuna -- Almora -- Someshwar -- Kausani -- Baijnath -- Gwaldham -- Dewal - Lohajung.  About 275 KM.

Around 4 PM, it started raining heavily.  We had just reached Dewal.  Another adventure was waiting for us.  We thought of taking a tea break.  But the rain made it difficult to come out of the tempo for a while.  Once out, we got to know that big trees have fallen due to rain and the road ahead is blocked at 2 places.  Our tempo driver was not sure when will the road get cleared.

Luckily, our transport coordinator was at Dewal.  He arranged for a BIG jeep and shifted us to it.  This was cramped compared to the space that we had in 14-seater tempo.  We still had about 1.5 hrs of journey left.

Our jeep could barely pass through this road block.  At 2nd location, the tree was cut into pieces and road was clear.

We reached Lohajung around 6:30.  This is the base-camp for Roopkund trek.  A small village with a few hotels and guest houses all over.  A few shops selling items like: woolen gloves, woolen caps, trekking pole, etc to trekkers.

It was dark all over.  We settled in one Govt Guest House.  More of a dormitory.  There was no power and we were told power is very erratic there.  Mr. Dev Singh is in-charge here.  He arranges all logistics for trekkers like: stay, food, local guide, supplies for next 5 days of trek.  Very jovial and energetic person.

We were introduced to his team and also had a briefing with Rhik who is from the trek organiser's office.  Rhik will also be with us during the entire trek.  Got to know a few do's and don't's.  Especially to watch ourselves for any signs of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness).  Symptoms like: headache, tiredness, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath, generally around 10,000 feet/3,048 meter.  If needed, take Diamox or any paracetamol tablet.  Best is to drink as much water as possible.

Next day, plan was to start around 9 AM, post B'fast.

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